Hyperkyphosis surgery

‘You need surgery’ isn’t something you ever want to hear. But for some individuals diagnosed with hyperkyphosis, surgery may be the only viable option to improve their condition and reduce their back pain. Non-surgical treatment methods such as physical therapy are often explored before resorting to surgery; however, if the symptoms of kyphosis are still causing problems after a certain amount of time, doctors may recommend an operation.

Other criteria that are taken into consideration include:

  • Curve progression – If the curve of the spine is getting gradually worse, doctors may suggest surgery to correct the curve and halt the progression.
  • Curve severity – In the thoracic spine (upper back), curves that exceed 80 degrees are considered severe. In the thoracolumbar spine (mid-low back), curves greater than 60-70 degrees are classed as severe.
  • Neurological symptoms – Hyperkyphosis can affect the nerves in the spinal cord as a result of spinal changes (e.g. vertebral fractures, which may cause pinched nerves). This can result in numbness, weakness and tingling feelings. In severe cases, the patient may experience bladder or bowel dysfunction.
  • Balance – Due to the spine curving forward in kyphosis, patients may have difficulty standing up straight. If a case of kyphosis results in individuals leaning forward too far, making it difficult to complete everyday tasks, surgery may be needed to rebalance the spine.

The main aims of hyperkyphosis surgery are:

  1. Decrease pain and any neurological symptoms experienced
  2. Reduce deformity
  3. Stop the curve from getting any worse

A number of different surgical procedures may be used, including:

Osteotomy

Osteotomy is a surgical procedure that involves the cutting and reshaping of bones. For individuals who have been diagnosed with hyperkyphosis, osteotomy realigns the bone ends in their spine and allows them to heal. Spinal instrumentation and fusion may then be used to stabilise the spine during the healing process.

Spinal Fusion

Once the spine has been realigned through an osteotomy, surgeons are required to stabilise and help it to heal in its new position. To do this, the surgeon will create an area where the bones in the spine fuse together over a period of time (typically several months) using a bone graft. This fusion aims to prevent movement between the vertebrae, providing more long-term stability within the spine. Based on the severity and location of the kyphosis curve, the surgeon will dictate whether the spinal fusion is performed from the front (anterior approach) or the back (posterior approach).

Balloon kyphoplasty

Kyphoplasty is a minimally-invasive treatment that’s performed through a number of very small incisions. Here, a special orthopaedic balloon is placed into the compressed vertebra and then inflated in an attempt to return the vertebra to the correct height and position. The balloon creates an empty space in the vertebra which is filled with a special surgical cement. This helps to stabilise the spine.

 

Hyperkyphosis surgery risks

As with any other surgical procedure, kyphosis surgery does carry some risks that you should be aware of before you decide to go under the knife. These include:

  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Instrumentation becoming loose or breaking
  • Development of a secondary curve

 

Treating hyperkyphosis without surgery

If you don’t like the idea of having surgery, you’ll be pleased to learn that it is often possible to treat Scheuermann’s disease and other forms of hyperkyphosis without any invasive procedures. Here at Scoliosis SOS, we offer world-class therapy in the form of our ScolioGold programme, which helps to straighten the back, reduce feelings of pain and improve overall quality of life.

We can also help individuals who have already undergone hyperkyphosis surgery. Our combination of proven treatment methods can help to speed up the recovery process, easing the pain experienced post-surgery, improving mobility and correcting any secondary curves that may have developed above or below the fusion.

If you would like to find out more about why our treatment courses are a great alternative to surgery, please contact Scoliosis SOS and book an initial consultation with one of our scoliosis consultants, who will more than happy to recommend the best course of action for you.

Get in Touch >

Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we are lucky to have met – and proud to have treated – so many patients from all around the world. We strive to provide first-class non-surgical scoliosis treatment that enables our patients to avoid potentially invasive spinal fusion surgery.

Our Schroth-based ScolioGold treatment method has changed the lives of so many people from different parts of the globe, but now, thanks to the opening of our brand new Bristol clinic, we are able to provide our therapy-based scoliosis treatment to more people right here in the UK!

Our expansion into the South West enables individuals who have been diagnosed with scoliosis in or near Bristol to receive care and advice regarding their condition from our experienced and qualified practitioners – without the need to visit our flagship clinic in London.

Here are several scoliosis patients from Bristol whom we’ve already treated:

Scoliosis sisters from Bristol

Rachel & Rebekah Manning

Rachel and Rebekah Manning were both physically active teenagers who enjoyed taking part in swimming, football and athletics when they started to experience episodes of severe back pain. They were soon diagnosed with scoliosis and were told that they’d each have to undergo a nine-hour operation to correct it. After extensive research, they found out about the Scoliosis SOS Clinic and the non-surgical treatment we offer.

Read Rachel & Rebekah’s Scoliosis Story >

 

Nadia and Zaria article

Nadia & Zaria Chowdhury

Nadia, 26, became aware of her scoliosis when she started to experience difficulties at university. Her sister Zaria, 18, also started to suffer difficulties with walking before being diagnosed. When chiropractic treatment proved too expensive and other forms of therapy such as osteopathy didn’t work, they decided to try one last method of treatment to avoid spinal surgery.

Nadia and Zaria’s Scoliosis Story >

 

Amy Hewson on house

Amy Hewson

After suffering a severe episode of pain whilst on a school skiing trip, Amy (15) underwent an operation to remove her appendix. This was when her mother noticed one of her ribs sticking out slightly below her left breast. Worried, Amy’s mother took her to see their GP, who referred Amy to a specialist. She was later diagnosed with a 53-degree curve in her spine. As a result of her condition, Amy was told that her dream of owning a horse may have to be put off due to the dangers of falling off a horse after receiving spinal fusion surgery, the traditional treatment for scoliosis. Amy refused to consider surgery and sought out other treatment methods instead.

Amy Hewson’s Scoliosis Story >

 

Thanks to our newly-opened Bristol clinic, patients just like Amy now won’t have to make the journey to London to receive treatment for their scoliosis.

Learn About Our Bristol Scoliosis Clinic >

If you have been diagnosed with scoliosis and would like to learn more about our non-invasive, exercise-based treatment course, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Surgical team at work

Being diagnosed with scoliosis is a life-changing experience. It can then be even more life-changing when you are told that your curved spine can only be corrected with spinal fusion surgery.

What Happens During Scoliosis Surgery?

If you’ve never had surgery before and you’re hearing about how the operation is performed for the first time, it’s perfectly natural to feel a little worried. Whether you’re considering the possibility of surgery or you’ve already had the operation, we at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic can help you.

 

Pre-spinal fusion treatment

Here at Scoliosis SOS, we provide scoliosis patients with physiotherapy-based treatment that aims to reduce their Cobb angle measurement. Our ScolioGold treatment programme combines the Schroth method with an assortment of other well-established therapeutic techniques from around the world, including:

  • FITS Method
  • PNF Technique
  • SEAS Method
  • Taping
  • Myofascial Release
  • Osteopathy
  • Trigger Point Therapy
  • Medical Acupuncture

This ensures that all aspects of the patient’s condition are addressed.

By increasing the range of motion in the back and strengthening the muscles around your spine, our pre-spinal fusion treatment aims to reduce the severity of your spinal curve, often meaning that surgery is no longer required at all.

 

Post-spinal fusion treatment

If you have already undergone spinal fusion surgery, our exercise-based therapy can still benefit you. Common problems after spinal fusion surgery include infection, pseudarthrosis and failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS), all of which can result in continued episodes of pain and discomfort as well as reduced mobility. If you are experiencing any of these issues in the wake of your spinal fusion surgery, our treatment courses may help to alleviate your symptoms.

But even if the operation went perfectly, it often takes a long time to fully recover from spinal fusion surgery. ScolioGold treatment can help to speed up this process whilst limiting several other post-op issues you may have. Our treatment plan is great for:

  • Reducing back pain
  • Improving mobility
  • Speeding up the correction of your spinal curve
  • Correct any secondary curvatures that may have progressed or developed above/below the fusion

Watch the video below to hear from one of our past patients, Rachel, who had surgery for her scoliosis and unfortunately experienced post-surgery complications. A number of years after her first operation, Rachel was told that another curve was developing in a different part of her spine and would require further surgery. Hoping to avoid having to go through this again, Rachel began to look for alternatives.

Rachel’s story is a great example of how our treatment can be utilised by post-surgery patients to address various issues they may encounter. Thanks to her 4-week ScolioGold treatment course, Rachel was able to avoid a second appointment with the surgeon.

If you would like to learn more about how our scoliosis treatment course can help you either pre- or post-spinal fusion surgery, please do not hesitate to get in touch today.

Yoga poses for scoliosis

We’ve previously talked about the relationship between yoga and scoliosis and how yoga is sometimes used as a form of scoliosis treatment due to its ability to create proper alignment within the body whilst reducing pain. This is achieved by placing focus on a number of key parts of the body, including:

  • Strengthening the feet and legs (to relieve the burden placed on the spine)
  • Straightening / lengthening the spine
  • Aligning the lower limbs with the torso for improved function
  • Addressing the rounding of the back
  • Strengthening core muscles to prevent the back from tightening
  • Incorporation of breathing awareness to improve structural alignment

However, despite all of the benefits associated with yoga, scoliosis patients who wish to take up yoga need to be cautious of the potential dangers that also exist. This is particularly the case for yoga classes that do not cater to the demands of scoliosis sufferers, as scoliotic spines do not always behave in the same manner as straight, healthy spines.

In order to ensure that your condition is improved rather than worsened, take a look at our recommended best (and worst) yoga poses for people with scoliosis.

 

The best yoga poses for scoliosis

Cat/Cow Pose

At the beginning of a yoga session, it’s important to focus on loosening the spine with breathing. The cat pose is a great exercise to help with this. To perform it, kneel with the hands below the shoulders and the knees below the hips. Whilst inhaling, lift the head and tailbone, making the lower back concave. Exhale and tuck the tailbone, rounding and releasing the neck. Repeat this for a total of ten times.

Warrior Pose

This pose strengthens and stretches the legs, psoas and back muscles and should be performed with the support of a door jamb or pillar in order to keep the torso upright and balanced. To perform the warrior pose:

  • Bring your back to the edge of the door jamb with the front heel about two feet ahead and the front leg hugging the side of the wall.

  • Place the back toes around two feet behind the left hip. Square the two hips so they are parallel to each other and point the tailbone to the floor, lengthening the sacrum.

  • Inhale and bring the arms overhead parallel to the shoulders (with palms facing each other) and lift from the upper back, lengthening the ribs and spine out of the pelvis.

  • Exhale and bend the right leg, creating a right angle, with the thigh parallel to the floor and the shinbone perpendicular to the floor. The right knee should be placed directly over the right heel, with the left leg fully extended and the left heel descending to the floor.

  • Continue to lift the spine, and at the same time, press into the floor with the back leg.

If you have trouble bringing the back heel to the floor, place a sandbag under the heel for balance. Pressing it back and down to the floor helps to penetrate the deep psoas muscle.

 

Inversions

In a healthy spine, the continual pull of gravity can compress the intervertebral disc and eventually cause nerve damage or disc herniation. If you have scoliosis, this issue is even more pronounced. Scoliosis sufferers will tend to feel the uneven pressure of gravity constantly but have no understanding of how to create alignment to alleviate it.

Inversions are a perfect way to create freedom in your body to experience alignment without the usual distortions caused by gravity. As a result, it is often easier – particularly if you have been diagnosed with scoliosis – to feel what alignment is upside down than while standing on your feet. Inversions are also a great way to develop strength in the back and arms, increasing circulation to the vertebrae, brain and other major organs as well as encouraging lymphatic circulation and venous blood return.

 

The worst yoga poses for scoliosis

Back-bending poses

Bending a scoliotic spine backwards will reduce the normal front-to-back thoracic shape, also known as kyphosis. This ‘regular’ part of the spine works to limit the progression of scoliosis, so emphasis should be placed on encouraging this shape rather than reducing it. Back-bending positions flatten the thoracic spine which can lead to destabilisation, making scoliosis worse.

Back-bending poses include:

  • Cobra
  • Half-moon
  • Bow pose
  • Camel
  • Wheel
  • Locust

 

Torso-twisting poses

Unless you’re certain it will not aggravate the rib arching, scoliosis patients should avoid twisting the torso against the pelvis. The rib arch is increased as it rotates backwards into the existing curvature, regardless of whether the rotation is to the left or right side. Some forms of scoliosis can accommodate these types of twists in a yoga programme, but only to one side.

It’s important to communicate with your practitioner before incorporating these poses into your yoga routine:

  • Spinal twist
  • Triangle
  • Seated twist
  • Sage twist

 

Bending the rib cage

Bending the rib cage backwards, forwards or sideways should be avoided at all costs. Trying to open up the main scoliotic curve between the thoracic (upper) and lumbar (lower) spine may improve the major thoracic curve, but you will risk worsening any curvatures above or below that curve.

The poses to avoid are:

  • Side bend
  • Triangle
  • Seated twist
  • Sage twist

 

These are the best and worst yoga poses for people with scoliosis. Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we provide award-winning, exercise-based scoliosis treatment courses that aim to strengthen the muscles and increase the range of motion in the back, frequently eliminating any need for surgical intervention. We have treated patients of all ages from all over the world.

Treatment FAQs   Book a Consultation

Spine segment

What is a spinal osteotomy?

A spinal osteotomy is a surgical procedure used to correct deformities in the spine. Here, bone is removed from the back of the vertebral arch to correct long, gradual curves of kyphosis like those produced by Scheuermann’s kyphosis or ankylosing spondylitis.

The majority of procedures that treat spinal deformities are types of osteotomy. These include posterior column osteotomy (PCO), pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) and vertebral column resection (VCR).

 

When is a spinal osteotomy performed?

Proper spinal alignment is important for pain-free functioning of the spine. The slight lordosis of the neck and lumbar (lower) spine are balanced by a slight kyphosis of the thoracic (upper) spine. These curves work in harmony to keep the body’s centre of gravity aligned over the pelvis.

A reduction in lordosis in the lower region of the spine (also known as flatback syndrome) or an excess in kyphosis in the upper region of the spine (known as hyperkyphosis) results in spinal misalignment. This is called sagittal imbalance and can cause fatigue, pain and compression of organs such as the heart and lungs.

During a spinal osteotomy, the surgeon removes a wedge-shaped section of bone from the back of the spine. Closing this wedge either adds lordosis or reduces kyphosis. This disc in front of the removed bone must accommodate the new position of the bones, so a spinal osteotomy requires a flexible disc between the target vertebrae. A surgeon assesses spinal flexibility during the creation of a treatment plan. If the discs cannot support a spinal osteotomy, other surgical options may be considered instead.

A PCO usually provides a patient with 10-20 degrees of correction, but this procedure is often performed at multiple spinal levels. Depending on where and how much correction is needed, a series of PCOs can ‘add up’ to the desired correction.

 

How is a spinal osteotomy performed?

A spinal osteotomy is conducted under general anaesthetic, meaning the patient is unconscious. They are placed face-down on the operating table, where the surgeon makes an incision over the spine to expose the bones in the spinal column. The surgeon then places screws into the vertebrae above and below the area from which the bone is to be removed. The heads of the screws are designed to hold rods. At the end of the surgery, the surgeon will insert rods that immobilise the spine while it heals in its new position.

Next, the surgeon removes bony projections that extend from the back of the vertebrae. The surgeon then removes sections of bone called the lamina at the back of the vertebrae and portions of facet joints between the vertebrae that will be realigned.

It is then time to realign the vertebrae. Here, the surgeon manipulates the patient’s spine into a new position, using implants to obtain the desired correction. Once alignment has been achieved, the surgeon inserts rods into the screws that were placed at the beginning of the surgery. The role of the rods is to hold the bones of the spine in the position achieved during the surgery while they heal. After this, the surgeon will apply bone graft or transplanted bone over the vertebrae. The bone graft will fuse with the vertebrae, forming one solid bone. Achieving good bone fusion is vital for long-term stability.

 

What to expect after a spinal osteotomy

Once the spinal osteotomy procedure has been successfully completed, you may have a number of questions. Let’s answer several common post-osteotomy questions right now:

How long will I have to stay in the hospital?

Patients typically stay in the hospital for 5-7 days after their spinal osteotomy procedure.

Will I need to wear a brace or collar?

Sometimes surgeons may prescribe a brace or collar if the osteotomy was performed in the neck. If performed on the spine, this is less common.

Will I have to take any medication?

If any discomfort is experienced after the spinal osteotomy, pain relief medication may be prescribed.

How long before I can exercise again?

You can begin to walk as soon as you’re comfortable to do so. More rigorous forms of exercise will have to wait until later on in the healing process.

Will I require any form of rehab or physical therapy?

Yes, physical therapy will be a part of your recovery process.

Will spinal osteotomy cause any long-term limitations?

As a result of your fusion, you may experience some decreased mobility; however, this all depends on your particular procedure.

 

How can Scoliosis SOS help?

If you have undergone a spinal osteotomy procedure and your doctor recommends participating in physical therapy as part of your recovery plan, we at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic can help!

We offer world-renowned physical therapy that helps to increase the spine’s range of motion and strengthen the muscles in your back, helping you to resume regular activities as soon as possible. Our ScolioGold method combines the well-known Schroth method with other proven therapy techniques to help speed up your spinal osteotomy recovery.

About ScolioGold Treatment   Book an Initial Consultation

Contact Scoliosis SOS

    Name *

    E-mail address *

    Country *

    Telephone Number *

    Other Information